Since the Freeride World Tour (FWT19) stop at Canada's Kicking Horse Mountain Resort at the beginning of February, the athletes have spread out across the globe to prepare for the third stop of the season in the Austrian Alps.
While there is definitely opportunity for playful lines and tricks, the Fieberbrunn venue is known for its emphasis on true big mountain skiing, featuring a steep cliff face out of the start gate, technical airs, and even a canyon in the middle of the venue. France's Mikael Bimboes used all of these elements in his run (including jumping over the canyon) to take the win last year.
On the men's side for FWT19, it's hard to predict who will have the advantage after the playful venue of Hakuba and the wild lines of Tanner Hall, Markus Eder, Reine Barkered, and winner Craig Murray at Kicking Horse, all four of whom went for a shorter but more fluid zone. It will be interesting to see if the judges respond to similar tactics in Fieberbrunn, or if they will reward hard skiing over freestyle airs as they did in 2018.
Catch up on FWT19: Craig Murray Crowned Champion at FWT Kicking Horse
On the women's side, the advantage remains with Italian Arianna Tricomi, who won at Hakuba and was second place at Kicking Horse. Her strongest competition comes from Switzerland's Elisabeth Gerritzen, who has had strong showings at both venues as well, and is likely anxious to get higher on the podium in Austria.
Unfortunately, Gerritzen's countrywoman Maude Besse suffered a season-ending injury last week, which leaves the field fairly open to underdogs like American Jaqueline Pollard, who won at Kicking Horse, and FWT19 Wild Card Hedvig Wessel, who earned a podium spot in Hakuba.
See more from Kicking Horse: American Jaqueline Pollard Takes Top Spot
The FWT19 Fieberbrunn event is scheduled to start at 8:45 A.M. CET (12:45 A.M. MST) on February 23, 2019. Keep your eyes on the FWT website for more info about the event, and keep up-to-date with all of the FWT19 action on SKImag.com's FWT page, as well as SKI Magazine's Facebook and Twitter channels. The event will live stream on FWT's YouTube channel.